MASSively EFFECTive Release
By Trodayne Northern and Lucious Barnes Jr. March 5, 2012
For many, the day’s feeling can be likened to a Holiday, as “Tali”mancer’s and Sherpard’s of all creeds and colors converge on their local retail stores to pick up their pre-ordered game of MASS EFFECT 3 (ME3). The only explanation for not knowing about this game within the gaming community would be if you were living a hermetic life subsisting only on a sturdy diet of second hand bread crusts and leafy twigs while trolling some nearly defunct mid-nineties MUD’ing game. (Kudos or apologies to those of you who understand the reference - you know who you are). Otherwise, ME3 is simply the most anticipated game of 2012 to date and more than likely of the year.
MASS EFFECT 3 comes out at midnight tonight, and during tonight’s witching hours literally millions of fans will have been to the stores to pick up the game, returned home, popped their popcorn, salsa’d their chips, bought their beverages, and called into their jobs anticipating a sick day tomorrow to begin the last leg of their journey as the Spectre/N7 operative named Shepard. We count ourselves lucky to be amongst their ranks and can’t remember this much camaraderie and fanfare since the opening night for the second trilogy of another little known property that will remain nameless, Mr. Lucas. And while that venture may not have turned out that well for those who waited 20 years plus, these two fans are confident that the wait for this finale will be well-rewarded.
If Bioware didn’t completely pioneer the choice/consequence based gaming model, they certainly perfected it. And with the level of detail they put into the production of each game within the Mass Effect series, the game stands as the gold standard for RPG’s in the industry. It would not be an overstatement to say that Bioware is to the RPG in the new millennium what Square was to RPG’s in the eighties and nineties.
Starting in late 2007, Mass Effect was poised to be an evolution in videogaming. By evolving the already considerable story and dialogue choices presented in their previous hit Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect was hailed as the first entirely voice acted video game, bringing with it a fresh new universe, stunningly epic camera and sound work, and emotional story of one man (or woman) looking to save the universe from an ancient evil and itself.
Mass Effect was a hit, spawning an army of ferociously loyal fans who quickly began to supplement the series with all manner of cosplay items, Fan-fiction, and art. Bioware is known and celebrated support for its of this fanfare lifted them up to stratospheric fame in the videogaming community, literally. www.geekosystem.com/mass-effect-3-space-launch
As popular as it was, Mass Effect proved to just be the opening salvo for what Bioware had in store for its hordes of would-be N7 Assests. Mass Effect 2 swept across the world stage, bringing home over 100 ‘Best of Awards’, including several ‘Game of the Year’(s) from various review sources. Everything from hoodies, to T-shirts, models, soundtracks, novels, or even coffee mugs, fly off the shelves at the Bioware online store. Mass Effect was now a phenomenon, and heralded as the next great science fiction epic of genre.
One of the many impressive things about this science fiction universe in particular, and an aspect close to our hearts, is it’s subtle but unwavering commitment to diversity. Yes, many games give you the option to play various races, or genders, some even give you more expansive options regarding sexual preference than previous games but few surround you with such a unique take on humanity in the future. A great many demographic projections assert that in the not too distant future, the scale of blending and intermixing between races and cultures will be apparent in nearly every aspect of life; everything from skin tone and facial features to surnames will reflect this reality. This was not lost on the developers and so what so often in Science Fiction became the Caucasian default button in the past, receives a new and possibly more accurate portrayal of the future, in the Mass Effect Series. Mix that with diversity of alien races, diversity of moral choices, the single player and (new) multiplayer options, and the diversity of weapon loadouts and it’s no massive surprise we’ll be amongst those amassing for the midnight release for Mass Effect 3 tonight.
Trodayne Northern is a former educator and academic counselor. He currently freelances as a writer/editor and resides in his Harlem laboratory nurturing his varied creative experiments. Presently, Trodayne works for a well established literary agency based in New York City. A graduate from Ithaca College, Trodayne is working on a series of short stories, and his second book in the proposed CRIMSON duology.
Lucious Barnes Jr. is an aspiring video game writer who specialized in science fiction urban fantasy. Lucious currently resides in Tempe, AZ.